How legendary singer Mahalia Jackson helped MLK’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech - The Strut

How legendary singer Mahalia Jackson helped MLK’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech

You have probably been reminded by now that today marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Before MLK spoke however, there was music. Legendary singer Mahalia Jackson stepped up to the microphone and sang beautiful renditions of I Been ’Buked and I Been Scorned and How I Got Over. From NY Times:

King was seated nearby, clapping his hands on his knees and calling out to her as she sang. Roger Mudd, covering the event for CBS News, said after the first song: “Mahalia Jackson. And all the speeches in the world couldn’t have brought the response that just came from the hymns she sang. Miss Mahalia Jackson.”

Her contributions to the day didn’t stop there:

Nearby, off to one side, Mahalia Jackson shouted: “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” King looked out over the crowd. As he later explained in an interview, “all of a sudden this thing came to me that I have used — I’d used many times before, that thing about ‘I have a dream’ — and I just felt that I wanted to use it here.” He said, “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” And he was off, delivering some of the most beloved lines in American history, a speech that he never intended to give and that some of the other civil rights leaders believed no one but the marchers would ever remember.

Here’s a clip of her performing How I Got Over during the famous march:

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